Version Played: PC
Saints Row 4, can Volition actually top themselves after their gloriously crazy Saints Row: The Third? How does fighting aliens with superpowers sound? Still not sold on it? I’ve opened enough black holes and super-stomped enough aliens to tell you if it’s worth your time and money.
So, you start off in a covert operation in the Middle East. You go through dark boring corridors shooting boring enemies in the face, like every other third-person cover-based shooter out in the market today. Don’t sound very deserving of the Saints Row name does it? But it ends with you riding a nuke trying to disable it and landing in the seat of the President of the United States. Your seat.
And that’s just for starters. Aliens start invading Earth and trapping humans in a virtual simulation. Then you mess with the simulation and start getting crazy superpowers. You start off with super-sprinting and super-jumping but will soon get to shoot projectiles, use telekinesis, buff your guns and my personal favorite, super-stomp the alien shit out of your enemies.
From the beginning you will notice that this probably started off as sort of a DLC or expansion before being a new retail release. This is pretty much Saints Row: The Third with superpowers and while I would have preferred a lower price point for that, it’s not a bad thing. Saints Row 4 is just bursting at the seams with fun. Running around Steelport as a superpowered human is awesome.
Volition did a great job with letting the player enjoy moving around the city. Cars became irrelevant pretty fast and you’re able to cut travelling time by a bunch and have fun doing it too. You can leap most building in a single bound and outrun pretty much anything.
Of course, with a big open sandbox like this, there will be a ton of sidequests/minigames around the city to complete in addition to the main quests. However, side-quests by your crew is essentially to complete the minigames in the city anyways but I’m not complaining and it doesn’t bother me at all. The minigames are designed to take advantage of your superpowers so no more racing cars but racing on your feet and using telekinesis to cause mayhem are what you should be expecting. My personal favorite, the insurance fraud minigame makes a comeback. The new superpower-centered minigames is just a ton of fun and you’ll find trouble progressing with the main quest.
While I didn’t particularly have a problem with the majority sidequests essentially being a collection of the minigames you have to complete in order instead of story-oriented ones; it can get a little tedious after awhile. Just because there might be that one minigame that you hate but again, it’s not a big problem.
Fans of the previous game should expect great writing again this time around accompanied with stellar voice-acting. Conversations are funny and real with great timing. All this in a crazy game that doesn’t take anything seriously is fantastic.
The parodies are abundant here, from 2D side-scrollers to a stealth section that requires you to use cardboard boxes to hide under. There’s even text-adventures and Mass Effect romancing; Saints Row 4 is just a pot full of the old and new with humor stuck in between all in great taste and never making it feel unwelcomed.
The plot gets a little wild as it nears the end and starts to breakdown. It doesn’t feel in harmony at all but the plot is something I wouldn’t pay much mind to considering the game is just so much fun and just gives you an excuse to wreak havoc in virtual Steelport.
I have to reiterate the enjoyment I got as I moved around the environment. Once you start upgrading your powers to its full potential, super-sprinting through the city will cause anything near you to just get blown away and a fully charged super-jump just effortlessly vaults you into the city skies. Once you’re in the air, you’ll be able to dash and glide your way around the city, get to the side of a building to run up the building or jump off of it. With enough practice, you’ll be able to land on narrow ledges which will help as you go around the city collecting ‘clusters’, loose bits of data used to augment your powers.
I finished the game in about 20 hours and with 91% completion. For a game that seems like it’s an expansion, there’s no doubt the amount of content available to the player is equivalent to a full game. While some might be unsatisfied that Volition recycled most of Saints Row: The Third in a bid to cut costs after THQ’s financial problems, it doesn’t hold the game back at all.
The game lets you experience a crazy life of a superpowered world leader hellbent on revenge and Saints Row 4 has realized its potential to the fullest. They managed to top themselves again and gave me one of the most fun games I’ve ever played. There’s no question that this game deserves a spot in your library.